Last week, Barry Allen thought he was living in a perfect world where his parents were both alive. He quickly found out that this new world had some faults, and there was a new speedster villain in town named The Rival. You can check out a full recap of the developments from last week's episode here.
Barry has returned to his regular timeline but there are a few changes in the world. There is a rift in Barry's group of family and friends. He tries to get everyone back together again and make things right. He also has a coworker in this new timeline, Julian Albert, who is not the nicest guy in the world. There were a few big moments in tonight's episode, so let's take a closer look at what's changed in Episode 2.
After having to watch Reverse Flash kill his mother again, Barry returned to the present to learn that his happy-go-lucky group of friends and family are not what they used to be. There's a rift between them. Cisco's brother, Dante, died at the hands of a drunk driver recently, and the West family isn't on the greatest of terms. Once again, Barry wants to fix everything, which we've already learned isn't a great idea.
While seeing this group together adds a fun dynamic to each episode, everyone having a stand-offish attitude towards each other adds a new layer to the show. We get to see Barry do whatever he can to return things to what he considers to be "normalcy." This continues to develop Barry as a character who wants the best for everyone; however, he's not without his faults as sometimes he uses his powers for selfish means.
The Rival Is Back
In the alternate timeline, Flashpoint, Barry and Kid Flash took on a villainous speedster named The Rival. At the end of the season premiere, Doctor Alchemy reached out to Edward Clariss, who was The Rival in the "Flashpoint" timeline. The week, Alchemy unlocked the speedster powers within Clariss, as well as giving him the memories of his life in the alternate timeline. Clariss was eventually defeated and sent to Iron Heights prison. However, something grabbed him in his cell in the final scene.
While The Flash has been over-using speedsters as villains in the series, it was nice to see that Clariss wasn't a throwaway villain. He's not someone who wants to steal Barry's Speed Force, which both Reverse Flash and Zoom wanted to do. The Rival wants to best him, and here, he's working for Alchemy, which we'll get into below. It's a bit of a new take on an old standard.
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